As the global COVID-19 crisis unfolded in the last few months, many businesses were forced to close their doors to customers. Local businesses in the Philippines were not spared, and as of June 10, the Department of Labor and Employment reported that more than 2,000 businesses have permanently closed.
Along with the events industry, travel, leisure, and food and beverage are among the hardest hit sectors. As the months-long quarantine continues in the country and with the potential of mass gatherings and social activities remaining bleak in the foreseeable future, well-loved hotels, restaurants, KTVs, bars, and recreational businesses have sadly bid us goodbye.
Here are a list of heartbreaking COVID-19-induced permanent closures we’ve seen through the months.
Marco Polo Davao
Marco Polo, Mindanao’s first and sole five-star hotel, announced on May 8, 2020, that it will be permanently closing on June 15. With 245 guest rooms and suites, the 22-year old luxury hotel was an icon in Davao.
The Oasis Paco Park Hotel
A popular base for weddings at the nearby St. Pancratius Chapel, The Oasis Paco Park Hotel operated for a decade before it revealed on July 14 that it will be closing, along with its on site restaurant, My Kitchen. The restaurant was known for its delicious Swiss offerings, including its signature Panizza – a rolled up pizza popularized by chef Chris Locher.
Recreational Places and Services
Citing the new normal’s massive impact on the prohibition of children staying outdoors and of mass gatherings for individuals below 18, Kidzania Manila said on July 22, 2020 that they will cease operations effective August 31. The children’s amusement park is popular for its animated props and backdrop in BGC, Taguig, where it provides interactive learning and role playing opportunities for children.
One of the first big names in the travel industry to permanently close, Sun Cruises announced that it has stopped operations since May 16, 2020. The cruise company was, for more than two decades, the only operator that provided day cruises and tours to historic Corregidor Island from Manila Bay.
CenterStage Family KTV (Jupiter Branch, Makati)
On June 30, CenterStage Family KTV said that its Jupiter branch was “down to our one last song” effective immediately. The branch served karaoke-loving patrons for 12 years and left behind other branches in MOA, Taguig, and Glorietta.
Gourmet Gypsy Art Café (Roces Avenue branch)
Chef Waya Araos-Wijangco, founder of Gourmet Gypsy, penned a heartbreaking letter on April 28, saying, “We made the decision a couple of weeks ago, that we cannot afford to carry the burden of two branches on the brink in an uncertain economy”. The chef, who also founded Open Hand, a school for people with special needs, announced they are closing the Roces branch after five wonderful years, but that Gourmet Gypsy’s Maginhawa branch “will still fight”.
Ilonggo Food Company
Fort Bonifacio gem Ilonggo Food Company, also lovingly known as IFC, posted on Facebook last July 2 that they are bidding farewell to customers due to the “unprecedented health and economic crisis”. The good news is they also announced that they are working closely with Kuppa Roastery, so that the latter can also serve IFC’s heartwarming Ilonggo delicacies.
Shangri-La Finest Chinese Cuisine
A hit among families and friends celebrating baptisms, birthdays, weddings, and other special occasions, Shangri-La Finest Chinese Cuisine stood mighty for 37 years before it closed its doors on July 31.
A household name not only in Baguio but also among its patrons from outside the city, Forest House made its last farewell on June 30 after 19 years of service. The multi-awarded B&B and restaurant was hailed by Tatler as the Philippines’ Best Restaurant for 14 years, and has become synonymous to family gatherings and destination weddings. Currently, the owners are selling the Forest House rights, which includes the name, tools, decors; kitchen, hotel and dining equipment; and training and admin assistance for 6-12 months after acquisition.
Only one year into the game, Kusina Moderne is already bidding us goodbye. They did, however, promise a comeback.
Thomson Road Chinese Bistro
Inspired by Singaporean cuisine, Thomson Road made waves with its heartwarming renditions on modern Chinese fare, including its Shrimp Siomai, Seafood Laksa, Claypot Rice, and Char Siu Pork Buns. Despite a formal announcement of the closure last July 6, founder and chef Johanne Wee hinted a possibility of offering delivery and/ or takeout in the future.
Donosti Tapas y Pintxos
A well-loved landmark in BGC, Donosti attracted Spanish tapas-loving crowds who often took to the bar to unwind after office hours. Patrons, for the meantime, can order select dishes from their takeout menu through M Dining + Bar.
The bar was known for its signature drink, Flying Tiger, and as a hideaway for San Juan’s young, upbeat crowd. After 18 years in service, Moksha “quietly slipped away into the realm of good memories” on July 6. All things Moksha are now being offered for bidding.
Polilya, known as the creator of Engkanto beer,once stood among Poblacion’s hippest and moist easily recognizable bars. It threw in the towel on July 16. You can still order Engkanto beer online though.
This burger joint “North of Kalayaan” quickly made the rounds on magazines and lifestyle websites when it opened three years ago, thanks to their juicy, toothsome burgers and cozy, fit-for-happy-hour interiors. They announced closure on July 26.
Today X Future Cubao
Today X Future, one of the first “queer-open and queer-safe” spaces to party, bid its last farewell on June 27 with an online Pride celebration. It was supposed to turn 12 years this 2020.